Friday, March 2, 2012

A Lesson in Humility

Do you ever get that feeling where you think you're good at something and then you see someone else completely crush you at it by being thirty-seven times better at it than you?

I've played piano for close to 13 years.  It's one of the most important things in my life, and probably one of my greatest talents.  I wrote more on this in my music post.  I always feel a little bit inferior when I listen to music played by the pros (Gershwin, Joplin, Harry Connick, Jr., Ben Folds, etc.), but it's more of an inspiring inferiority, not a crushing inferiority.  When I listen to those guys play, I want to be able to play like them someday, and that makes me want to play more.

I like to think that I'm pretty good at the piano.  I hit my prime in high school, and when I went to college it got a lot harder to play everyday, so I slipped a little bit (although I'll never actually lose my ability).  I play piano every chance I get, and when I get back into a normally paced life, I'll really start my old habits back up.

Here are some recordings of me playing that I made with my piano teacher during my junior or senior year.  You can listen to them if you want to- either click the links or use the player at the bottom of the page.  My main point is below...

While I feel inspired by the great pianists of the world, I feel completely humbled and insignificant when I hear things like this (actually listen to this one):
It's likely that this humbles me because this kid is, at the MOST, 8 years old.  He might be five.  I mean, talk about a prodigy.  Also, the song he's playing is one of, if not the most complicated song I've ever tried to play.  I'm sure that if I were to learn it with an instructor (I've only ever noodled around with it by myself), I could play it eventually.  BUT, on the Youtube page for this video, in the description, it says that he rehearsed this for TWO MONTHS.

I'm sorry what?  Yeah.  Two months (for you non-piano-playing folks out there, that's a REALLY short time for this kind of piece).



Well, that's probably true, but I could come close if I wanted to and had the time.  They say that to be a true genius at something, you've got to put 10,000 hours into it.  Maybe someday, I'll put all of my petty, life deliberations aside and use all of that saved time to get those 10,000 hours.  I'd really like to do that.  I can't think of much that would make me happier.

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